May 31, 2012


Photographer Otto Bettmann snapped her blowing candles on a cake in the back of a car. The occasion was her thirtieth birthday. The Cannes Film Festival 2012, held in May, repurposed this image on their official poster. This year also marks her fiftieth death anniversary.

Who is on the poster?

Image: Otto Bettmann (original), Hollywood Reporter (web copy)

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This day last year: Q.243

May 30, 2012



  • As Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 2004-2008, Vilasrao Deshmukh constantly extolled this city as a model for Mumbai.
  • Grigoris Lambrakis, a Greek politician, was killed by political rivals. This became a book by Vassilis Vassilikos, and later a well-regarded film.
  • A second-generation actor who was offered the lead role in "Maine Pyaar Kiya" that would ultimately go to Salman Khan.
  • A common slogan at patriotic events.

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This day last year: Q.242

May 29, 2012


Two sports have seen similar controversies in recent times. Both caused by near-identical innovations. These innovations share a primary objective, that of making the sports better viewed on television. One of these sports has even changed the colour of the its ball to a colour close to what is used in the other sport.

Both changes have had players and coaches cry foul. Which sports, and what's the change?

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This day last year: Q.241

May 28, 2012


Eugene Polley recently passed away. For years, he worked for Zenith Electronics where he gained patents for several inventions. Best known among these was called the "Flash-Matic", a revolutionary new product that eventually became an (now almost) indispensable household product. "Flash" because it focused visible light (from a device like a flashlight) to a set of photo-cells.

So what product thus came about?

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This day last year: Q.240

May 27, 2012


The Templeton Prize had been awarded annually since 1973, and is presented by a Foundation with the same name. The aim is to honour a person's work in "affirming life's spiritual dimension". Often given to religious figures or philosophers and scientists who try to engage with religion and spirituality, it is dubbed by some as a Nobel for Religion.

Given this background, it's somewhat of a surprise that it took 2012's winner so long to be awarded this prize. Who is 2012's awardee?

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This day last year: Q.239

May 26, 2012

IZ 121 - IV

Set III (Business-Economics, Social Sciences, Culture))
Download Set IV here or view here:


The latest edition of this iconic competition was won by "Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises" (35 points). "The History of Azerbaijan" came in second with 30 points. The rest of the pack were "Tom Lehrer", "The Diggers", "Alchemy", and "The Life and Work of JMW Turner". The final was held in May 2012, bringing to an end this year's series, telecast on BBC Two.

What competition?

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This day last year: Q.238

May 25, 2012


This is a still from a new TV show produced and to be aired on the American network CBS, towards the end of 2012. In this crime drama, the male lead will be played by Jonny Lee Miller. According to the show's website, Miller's character is "just out of rehab, he's been assigned to live with his worst nightmare-sober coach". The coach is a lady named Joan, played by Lucy Liu.

There was some concern this may step on the toes of another currently popular TV series, thanks to certain elementary similarities. What was the reason?

Image: Wikipedia

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This day last year: Q.237

May 24, 2012


Dr. Sleep will be his latest book, and is due to be published in 2013. This novel is a sequel to an earlier book of fiction by the same author, and features the son of the main character in the first book. That book was made into a much acclaimed film.

The son is nicknamed "Dr.Sleep" because he helps terminally ill patients using a gift he possesses. Which author, and the sequel to what?

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This day last year: Q.236

May 23, 2012


Twenty two litterateurs were awarded the Sahitya Akademi Puraskaars for 2011; these were presented in February of 2012. The chosen works spanned fiction, non-fiction, essays, poetry, and drama and were from the period of 2007 to 2009.

The award in English was in the category of 'narrative history' and went to an eminent sociologist-historian. Who and which well-regarded book on modern Indian history?

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This day last year: Q.235

May 22, 2012


The Department of Motor Vehicles in Nevada recently granted a license to a Toyota Prius car. Ordinarily, this would have been a routine affair, but not in this case. This car was given the license plate number of "001". The license plate will be in red and sport the lemniscate symbol used to indicate "infinity".

If you see this car whizzing past you, who would be driving it?

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This day last year: Q.234

May 20, 2012


In April 2012, UNESCO announced that something would now come under the protection of a 2001 UNESCO Convention because it now met two conditions: one, it is at least a hundred years old, and two, it is located in an international region i.e. not under any specific nation's jurisdiction.

As a result, UNESCO and nations can prevent 'unscientific' or 'unethical' exploration, as well as proscribe illegal removal of artifacts from the site.

What is thus being protected?

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This day last year: Q.232

May 19, 2012


Andorra is a tiny European country that lies between France and Spain. It is a Principality, i.e. it is ruled by a prince. Make that "princes" because, unusually, it is ruled by two co-princes, which stems from a political arrangement that goes back to about eight hundred years.

One of the current co-princes is Joan Enric Vives SicĂ­lia, the Bishop of Urgell, a Catholic diocese that covers Andorra and some parts of Spain. Andorra recently acquired a new co-prince. Who is this?

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This day last year: Q.231

May 18, 2012


The English football club Manchester City won this year's English Premier League title in a edge-of-seat-nail-chewing thriller, that went down to the last minutes of the season. Seen here is Carlos Tevez, holding up a sign, during Manchester City's victory parade the next day.

This act promptly earned him a rebuke from his own club, and controversy everywhere else. What name completes the sign?


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This day last year: Q.230

May 17, 2012


Image: Google

St. George is the patron saint of countries such as Georgia and England. April 23rd of each year (the anniversary of his death) is celebrated as St. George's Day around the world. This year, a Google Doodle paid tribute to the occasion, with this distinctive 16-colour palette that was a mark of older PCs.

This palette choice is a homage to another entity, one of the first colour PCs, which completed 30 years on this date. Which legendary Personal Computer?

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This day last year: Q.229

May 16, 2012


Why is this photo of American President Obama, taken during a visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, in the US, significant? (the visit was in April 2012)

Of this, he said:

I just sat there for a moment and pondered the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history, but is also a part of that long line of folks -- sometimes nameless, oftentimes didn't make the history books -- but who constantly insisted on their dignity, their stake in the American Dream.
Image: Souza/The White House

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This day last year: Q.228

May 15, 2012


What five thousand-odd kilometer journey of a fifth generation traveller belonging to a fiery race began at Wheeler Island in the Bay of Bengal on the 19th of April, 2012, and came to a swift end about twelve hundred seconds later?

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This day last year: Q.227

May 14, 2012


Economists are fond of making indices out of consumer goods to make comparisons between countries and spot trends. Examples of these are the Big Mac index, the hemline index, and the lipstick index. Ruchir Sharma, a bigshot at Morgan Stanley, is no different.

In his latest book "Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles", he uses the cost of staying in a hotel chain in various countries to determine which emerging markets have an 'expensive currency' (for instance, of the BRICS countries, Brazil is the most expensive).

Which hotel chain?

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This day last year: Q.226

May 13, 2012


The "Ishara" Theatre Trust was founded by Dadi Pudumjee, a well known practitioner of a performing art (for which he has won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskaar). It holds a annual international festival aimed at promoting this art form; this year's edition was held in New Delhi in February 2012.

Which art form is this? (clue: think of the Hindi word "ishara".)

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This day last year: Q.225

May 12, 2012


To his surprise, this English footballer found his likeness on the backs of cigarette packs in India, as part of a new set of mandatory warnings against smoking (it showed a man with blackened lungs). After his lawyers threatened to sue, the Indian health ministry withdrew the image, though they insisted "the picture could be of any man".

This only adds to the personal and professional turbulence faced by the footballer in the last twelve months.

Which footballer?

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This day last year: Q.224

May 10, 2012


The German pharmaceutical company Merck has sponsored an award in the name of this legendary son of India, to honour those who have fostered cultural relations between India and Germany. The award was granted by the Goethe-Institut, Kolkata and Max Mueller Bhavan India.

Dr. Martin Kampchen, the first winner, received the prize in March 2012. The award will then be presented every two years, on May 7th.

For whom is this award named for?

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This day last year: Q.222

May 9, 2012


Winner of a Special Jury Award at the 59th National Film Awards, this documentary by Anand Patwardhan has been shown for free in many places in India in 2012, especially on the occasion of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar's birth anniversary in April. The film's genesis is in the suicide of the poet Vilas Ghogre in 1997 which resulted from events surrounding a police firing in Ghatkopar, Mumbai.

Two words have been blanked out in the title: this is a slogan associated with Ambedkar-Dalit movements. What's this phrase?

Image: Anand Patwardhan's website

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This day last year: Q.221

May 8, 2012


It's a little place in Dhanbad, Jharkhand (Dhanbad is best known for its coal mines). It's reportedly "cinema-obsessed". Which is a good thing, because it joins the likes of New York, Chicago, LA, and Baghdad in having its name as part of a film's title preceded by a phrase.

In fact, the film is being made in two parts, and has been chosen for display at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Which place, and what movie-in-two-parts?

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This day last year: Q.220

May 7, 2012


A visual anagram: identify this person (the text is a rearrangement of his name) who saw his woes increase in April 2012.

[+ Show Answer] This day last year: Q.219

May 6, 2012


The Central University of Bihar is one of the new set of Central Universities created in 2009. Currently, the university is operating from the Birla Institute of Technology (Patna) campus. Its permanent location is a matter of conflict between the Central Government (the HRD ministry) and the State Government.

While the state's Chief Minister wants it to be set up in Motihari, the HRD minister Kapil Sibal is insistent that the university would attract more faculty and students if it was situated in another place (which has an international airport thanks to its global fame).

What is this other place?

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This day last year: Q.218

May 5, 2012


One of the better April Fool jokes of 2012 was this website for a newly launched 'mission'. Who is behind this mission?

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This day last year: Q.217

May 4, 2012


Yerzhan Kazykhanov is the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan. In April of 2012, during a session of the Kazakh Parliament, he mentioned that a certain creative event from a few years ago had directly resulted in a tenfold increase in the number of visas (mostly tourists) to Kazakhstan. He also expressed his gratitude for the same to the person responsible.

Who did he thank?

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This day last year: Q.216

May 3, 2012


Considered by some to be "unfilmable" because of its complex narrative and its magic realism theme, Salman Rushdie's book "Midnight's Children" is finally being made into a movie by Deepa Mehta. The tale of Saleem Sinai, this film features a large cast of well known Indian actors.

The BBC had once tried to make this movie, but the project ran into trouble. An Indian actor was cast as Saleem Sinai in that project. He now plays the crazy General Zulfikar in the 2012 production. Who?

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This day last year: Q.215

May 2, 2012


Philip Humber is a pitcher with the Chicago White Sox, a Major League Baseball team. In April 2012, in a match against the Seattle Mariners, he achieved a feat that has only been done twenty times before in the 100+ year history of top-flight American baseball.

The feat is defined as: "a game in which a pitcher pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposing player reaches base". What is this termed as?

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This day last year: Q.214

May 1, 2012


(click to see a bigger picture; images from Wikipedia articles)

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This day last year: Q.213


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